Even Life Coaches need motivational help

One of the hardest parts of being a small business owner human is dealing with the bullshit stories running through our heads.

Seriously, nothing will screw you up faster than listening to the stories that say you can’t, you shouldn’t, you’ll never be able to.

You’d think that certain people would have moved beyond this tendency.

Take me for example. I’m not exactly a Life Coach, but I’ve been trained as one by Barbara Sher, and the work I do definitely crosses over into Life Coaching from time to time. Not to mention, I’ve spent the greater portion of my life working on self-awareness, personal growth, all that sort of blah blah stuff.

And you know what? I am a MASTER at self-sabotaging with shitty stories.

Most recently, I’ve been struggling with finding the time and energy to work both on and in my business. As a borderline work-a-holic, this is not something I usually struggle with, but being pregnant… changes things.

I have less energy, and the need to spend more time taking care of myself means less time to take care of my business (I suck at self-care by the way, so this is more frustrating than it likely needs to be).

The last few months have been spent going in mental circles, trying to figure out how to adapt my work schedule to my current physical reality. Which mostly translates to, “I’ve been bitching and complaining about how much this sucks, without actually getting much accomplished.”*

*That’s not entirely true. I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit. It’s just less than I would have gotten done if I wasn’t pregnant, so my stupid brain is trying to convince me that I’ve basically gotten NOTHING done. This is how self-sabotaging shitty stories work people. It sucks.

So recently I was sharing my Story with a friend.

He’s also self-employed – he’s an amazing anime / pin up artist who’s done an impressive job supporting himself with his art for the last two years (so much for the “starving artist” myth!). Anywho, we were talking about the flow of inspiration – how when you’re feeling the “muse” you can stay up until 4 in the morning working on your art, then wake up at 8 and jump right back into it.

I used to LOVE working like that.

Since having my son (and especially since getting pregnant), I haven’t felt like that’s an option…

  • I can’t stay up late, I have to get up early and take care of my son. (Story)
  • I can’t work all hours of the day and night, I have to take care of my son. (Story)
  • Now that I’m pregnant, I can’t get up early – I’m too tired, and sleep is important. (Story)

The thing about all these stories is that, on one level, they’re TRUE.

  • I do have to take care of my son.
  • I do have to take care of my pregnant self.
  • Sleep is, in fact, important.

The problem with these stories is that all they do is focus on the problem, create a story around why it can’t be fixed, and then… stop.

There’s nowhere to go from there.

I’ve created an insurmountable wall too tall to get over, with a perfect excuse to not even try (that little nugget of irrefutable truth).

But you know what? That sucks. It’s time to change the story.

My friend Ray did an excellent job of calling me out on my shit.

“You have to find a way, you have to CHOOSE your calling. If it’s meaningful, you have to make it a priority.” (Not his exact words, but it’ll do for a summary.)

The funny thing is, ever since we had that talk, I’ve been waking up at 4am, unable to sleep. I’m overcome with inspiration and the need to get to work.

Yes, I still need to get up and take care of my son.

Yes, sleep is still important for my pregnant self.

But taking care of me & my family doesn’t have to create a barrier to taking care of my business. This isn’t “either / or” we’re talking about!

Instead of saying “I can’t get up early because then I’ll be too tired for my son / not getting the sleep my body needs,” I can choose to get up early, and then take a nap later in the day, while my son takes his.

By changing the story, I create an “and” situation instead of either / or.

I’m pretty much useless after 3pm anyway, so I may as well get up earlier and make the most of the time when I don’t feel nauseous and gross, right?!

In the meantime, I’ll be watching out for those nasty little self-sabotaging stories.

I can pretty much guarantee they’ll trip me up again at some point… but with a bit of self-awareness (and a LOT of help from friends who are willing to call me out on my bullshit), I know I can keep moving forward.

How about you?

What are the stories that have been holding you back?

How can you re-write them to find a way around the wall that seems insurmountable?


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  1. Ray on October 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Excellent read, Heidi! I agree, we have two choices before us, in life: Be a victim, or be responsible.

    The victim takes no responsibility for the problems they encounter, and instead only complain about how powerless they are. They look to blame outside influences beyond thier control, rather than take each failure as an opportunity to learn and adapt to the oncoming challenges. It’s much easier to blame Joe Blow, my co-worker, for taking that promotion I wanted, than it is to own up to the fact that Joe simply worked harder (or smarter) than I did, and displayed his efforts to the right people. Instead of learning what Joe did to succeed, it’s “easier” to end the story there, and just cry about how “unfair” it is…

    But is it really easier?

    I mean, come on, being unsuccessful is hard work, too, because LIFE is hard when you are unsuccessful. Is it really that hard to spend some time focusing on solutions instead of excuses? I suspect the same amount of brain power is required to do either, so why even bother being a victim? Sounds like a lot of wasted effort, to me.

    On the flip side, the responsible one owns up to thier failures, and is eager to put thier efforts towards finding solutions that prevent such problems from ever happening again. They learn from failure and adapt to an ever-changing environment, making progress, not excuses. A responsible person knows they need new problems to solve, not old ones. After all, how can we call ourselves successful if we have no new problems to succeed at overcoming? Furthermore, its hard to call one’s self “successful”, when dealing with the same old problems. Crush them and move on!

    We all have spent more time branding ourselves as a “victim” than we probably care to admit. By the above definition, it’s clearly not something to aspire to, and yet, there are actually some people who wear the “victim” status like a badge of honor. Either that, or they are so brainwashed into believing in thier powerlessness that they simply cannot see any other option. However, if success and fulfillment are truly our goals, then it’s imperative that we cast this sickly personal aside, and truly take responsibility for every moment of our lives. In this, we give ourselves permission to learn, to grow, and to truly seek happiness.

    • Heidi on October 2, 2015 at 4:38 am

      Thanks Ray! I agree that taking personal responsibility is key to building the life you want. Unfortunately, I think that fear of failure (or more specifically, the fear of being perceived as a failure) keeps many from claiming that responsibility. As a society, we’ve built such a stigma around “failing / being a failure” that {most} people will do just about anything to avoid it.

      That’s one of the reasons I advocate for an experimental mindset, rather than focusing on “success vs. failure” (check out my previous blog post for a longer explanation). When you take the concept of failure out of the equation, it’s much easier for people to move beyond the fear and to see the value in taking personal responsibility.

      To me, the saddest thing about those who avoid that responsibility is that they’re giving up all power over their lives; whether you’re blaming someone else, or some outside force, what you’re basically saying is, “this thing / person has more power over my life than I do. My happiness is outside my control.” And that is just a sad, miserable place to be.

      I do know that sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that present challenges we have very little control over – for instance, if we’d had this conversation two months ago, I most likely would not have been waking up at 4am afterward. The physical limitations of my pregnancy during the first trimester were much more severe than they are now, and despite my best efforts, there really wasn’t anything I could do to change those limitations.

      The importance of recognizing the stories we’re telling ourselves is that we always have some control, some options available to us. If I had just accepted the story of “I’m pregnant and I feel horrible and there’s nothing I can do so I may as well not even try,” then of course I wouldn’t have been able to get anything done.

      Instead I went with the story of “I’m pregnant and I feel horrible and there’s nothing I can do to change that, so let’s see what I can manage to get done and at least I’ll do that much, which is better than nothing.” I still haven’t gotten nearly as much accomplished the last few months as I would’ve liked… but it’s certainly more than nothing! 🙂

      • Heidi on October 2, 2015 at 7:01 am

        On further reflection, I’m actually realizing that our conversation most likely coincided nicely with what is commonly recognized as the Second Trimester Energy Boost. Which would certainly explain why I keep waking up at 4am, full of energy and ready to go… and why I still have energy at the end of the day!

        • Ray on October 2, 2015 at 10:49 pm

          Haha well that’s cool! I must admit that I have no clue how someone would deal with the challenges of pregnancy, it seems being a mother is like playing on “ultra hard mode”! All I have to deal with is my own mindset and motivation, not a rebelling body!

          All I can do is marvel at mothers such as yourself who manage to find a way to make progress, despite such challenges. Keep it up, your doing great!

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